Sunday, October 25, 2015

U.S. Launches Fast-Track Process for Rules on Drones

Owners to be required to register their devices
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said he would expedite new rules to require recreational drone owners to register their devices before Christmas, an unusual move that he called necessary because drones are endangering manned aircraft.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx spoke about a 
new unmanned aircraft-registration requirement at a 
news conference Monday. Getty Images
Mr. Foxx said Monday he is ordering a task force of 25 to 30 industry and government representatives to recommend the specifics of a drone-registration system by Nov. 20. Regulators will aim to issue final rules by mid-December, he said.
Mr. Foxx said regulators are aiming for “a streamlined registration process” that would exempt some low-risk drones. People who already own drones would have to register their devices, he said, though they likely will have a grace period to do so. Users who don’t comply will face federal penalties, he said.
The task force is charged with resolving some of the thorny practical questions posed by such a system, including which drones would be included, how regulators would enforce the rule, and how they would handle hundreds of thousands of new registrants.
The two-month timeline is exceptionally fast for a new aviation regulation, which often requires extensive reviews and takes years to complete.
When asked at a news conference how regulators could circumvent the usual process, Mr. Foxx said, “We are looking very carefully at the regulatory process, but we do feel the level of urgency here is sufficient to move as quickly as we possibly can.”
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